Like many of the Impressionists, the artist Arkhipov was not spared fascination with the depiction of scenes from the lives of women-laundresses. However, in the paintings of French colleagues social implication operation is barely feasible female labor if indicated, by a dotted line. Degas – the position of the bodies laundresses, bent under a heavy burden. And Renoir's "Laundry" so generally placed in the scenery of clear scenic landscapes permeated with pastoral bliss (1, 2, 3).
The Picture Of Abram Arkhipov "Washerwoman" borrows from impressionism only technique, bringing an alien social context. But for the artist it was crucial in the process of working on a canvas, why paint a picture, actually dragged on for several years.
By hook or by crook
Was born the idea of painting in a purely impressionistic – visited due to sudden impression. Once Arkhipova, wandering around Moscow in search of inspiration, new subjects and themes, brought to the basement, dimly lit cramped little room, where, together with the flows of dirty water and hot steam evaporate, slipping through my fingers beauty and youth working in her laundresses – both very young and approaching his latest milestone.
What he saw stunned does not leave the painter alone. Arkhipov gets the idea to move through it the feeling of hopelessness from the endless cycle of soaking-washing-rinsing on the canvas. But to take the intended height with a running start he was not going to conquer it thoroughly and meticulously.
The artist returns again and again in a dank basement, more like a place of punishment for criminals, or one of Dante's circles of hell. In the end, he decides to recreate the gloomy atmosphere of hopelessness in his workshop, which invites for posing laundresses, trust them by this point he had already managed to win in the course of numerous visits.
Start writing a "Laundresses" in 1897, the artist is working on the long-suffering canvas. But when he again brings in the Laundry at the Smolensk market, new impression causes him to delay finished pictureaside and start from scratch. "I saw that everything was different than what I saw for the first time – explains his decision to lift the ban. – Saw an old woman, she embarrassed me – she was terribly tired, my back hurts, the village rest is a more expressive... All beautifully – couples club, the tired old woman.".
Hope dies last
So desperate, parched by years of exhausting water treatment woman becomes a new compositional center of the second, more well-known and perfect versions of "Laundresses" Arkhipova. For the sake of her exhausted stooped posture he donates pieces on the canvas, shifting the semantic emphasis on devoid of any reflection of the life of the old woman's face with empty eye sockets and wet from the steam, but equally nothing reflective floor.
In comparison with the first variant of the picture, the new edition further strengthened fugitive, wide and thick impressionistic brush stroke, as if the artist were afraid to miss stuck in his head the image and tried to capture it on canvas as soon as possible. Of course, not in vain the three-year study in the workshop, and already full of hand he realizes now finalize the plan.
Catches the eye is another very striking and important difference in plot solution. If the first "Washerwomen" in addition to crushed over the years and meekly accepted his heavy cross old woman in the foreground, two places already disfigured exhausting occupation and turned into the same type of mask the faces of the still relatively young women, the second version, we see them only from behind.
Perhaps in this way the artist, who does not want to accept the fact that this Laundry room-Inferno – the last lot of the characters, leaving the girls a chance to alternative the outcome of their life. Maybe with this thought, he puts on a new canvas a little more light to break out in the wretched little window and playing in clubs of a dense suffocating vapour.
A ray of light in the darkness
Presented in the next exhibition of the Association of traveling art exhibitions, the final version of "Laundresses" gathered good reviews. "The picture of A. E. Arkhipov is small, but because of it one should go to the exhibition of the Wanderers"– wrote some Newspapers. "Painting "Washerwoman" a bright beam shines on the show. This is probably the best and most serious work of this highly talented artist"– echoed the other.
And no wonder: in addition to the workshop equipment, polished by years of compositional and narrative of the incarnation, the painting convincingly demonstrates the gift Arkhipova-colorist. Hard work with a palette of dull shades of brown and beige, delicately shaded lilac and purple, are forced to peer into colorful layers. A delicious treat for the eyes, the painting "Laundresses" – one of the exceptional samples of the creative heritage of the artist Arkhipov, the rare black pearl in the placers of the world's works of impressionism.